Best Ultralight Trekking Poles of 2024

Best Trekking Poles: Hiker in extreme arctic conditions with ultralight trekking poles attached to backpack

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Trekking poles are an essential piece of gear for ultralight backpackers and hikers looking to shed ounces without sacrificing stability on the trail.

With so many options on the market, it can be tricky to find the perfect balance of low weight, durability, and price when selecting trekking poles.

Our guide has the info you need to pick the best trekking poles for your next lightweight or ultralight adventure. Don’t make the mistake of grabbing the first pair you see – use our insights to find ideal trekking poles for your needs and budget.

Let’s get started.

What are the Best Ultralight Trekking Poles?

  1. Most Ultralight: Gossamer Gear LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles (4.9oz/139g)
  2. Best Overall: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles (5.11oz/145g)
  3. Best Value: Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole (7.2oz/205g)
  4. Best Warranty: Helinox Passport TL130 Adjustable (5.78oz/164g)
  5. Budget Option: Mountainsmith Andesite Trekking Poles (5.29oz/150g)

1. Most Ultralight
Gossamer Gear LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

Ultralight Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5 Three Piece Carbon Trekking Poles

Key Specs


Weight Per Pole: 4.9 ounces (139 grams) | Length: 23.6-51.2″ (60-130 cm)
Material: Carbon fiber
Price: $$$

PROS


✅ Ultralight

✅ Minimal vibration

✅ Durable locking sytem

CONS


❌ Relatively expensive

❌ Straps require periodic tightening

When every ounce counts, the Gossamer Gear LT5 trekking poles deliver lightweight performance without compromising stability. As one of the lightest three-piece pole options on the market, the LT5s exemplify Gossamer Gear’s commitment to ultralight gear.

Constructed from carbon fiber, these poles boast impressive strength-to-weight ratios. Despite weighing in at a mere 4.9oz per pole, the LT5s feel solid in hand and underfoot thanks to Gossamer’s innovative ferrule and lever-lock systems. The twist-to-lock mechanisms on each section hold fast, even under pressure, while providing a quick set up.

Overall, we value the locking mechanism and the overall design, though there might be some challenges with strap retention as they require periodic tightening.


2. Best Overall
Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles

Ultralight Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Poles

Key Specs


Weight Per Pole: 5.11 ounces (145 grams) | Length: 49.2″ (125 cm) Other options avaliable
Material: Carbon fiber
Price: $$$

PROS


✅ Various sizes avaliable

✅ Durable

✅ Foldable (easy to pack)

CONS


❌ Grips are bulky

❌ Relatively expensive

When you need poles that can go the distance, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z trekking poles deliver. Constructed entirely of carbon fiber, these poles epitomize both lightweight strength and packable portability.

During testing, we found the padded grip to be confidence-inspiring. The quick-flip locks held fast, and the Z-shaped foldable design stashed easily in our packs. While the grips have a slightly bulkier feel than some slimmer options, overall, these poles provided excellent stability and control.

For hardcore ounce-counters and long-distance hikers, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles deliver. Just be aware that the premium carbon does come at a steeper price.


3. Best Value
Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole

Ultralight Trekking Poles: Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Pole

Key Specs


Weight Per Pole: 7.2 ounces (205 grams) | Length: 54″ (137 cm)
Material: Carbon fiber
Price: $

PROS


✅ Can be bought separately

✅ Can be extended for shelters (56″ (142 cm))

✅ Different grip options avaliable

CONS


❌ Reverberation

When you need poles to tackle varied terrain, the versatility and lightweight design of the Zpacks Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles shine. Weighing in at just 7.2oz per pole, these carbon fiber poles offer impressive strength while still folding down small.

You can customize the Zpacks Carbon Trekking Poles for comfort and stability with adjustable wrist straps, clasp locks, and etched measurement markings. The tips offer good traction on paved sections, providing flexibility in various hiking environments during our testing.

However, the featherweight carbon did transmit some reverberation, especially on softer ground. While performance wasn’t impacted, we did notice occasional unpleasant vibrations up the forearms after miles of use. This is a common trade-off for ultralight carbon poles.

In simple terms, the Zpacks Carbon Trekking Poles are great for trekking in three seasons. They’re super light and come at a good price.


4. Best Warranty
Helinox Passport TL130 Adjustable

Ultralight Trekking Poles: Helinox Passport TL130 Adjustable

Key Specs


Weight Per Pole: 5.78 ounces (164 grams) | Length: 49.2″ (125 cm)
Material: Aluminium
Price: $$

PROS


✅ Durable

✅ Easily adjustable

✅ 5-year warranty

CONS


❌ Straps require periodic tightening

The Helinox TL130 ultralight trekking poles truly shine as folding poles with an impressively compact packed size (14.5 inches / 37cm). Their easy folding design is complemented by tungsten-carbide tips, providing a reliable grip even on challenging terrains.

Crafted using advanced DAC alloy, these poles blend durability with reliability. It’s crucial to note that their commitment to quality is reinforced by a five-year warranty.

From our perspective, these poles offer access to quality technology – the twist lock system on the top section allows for easy adjustment from 45.3 to 51.2 inches (115cm to 130cm), all while folding down to just 14.5 inches (37cm). This smart innovation adds a mere 0.78 ounces (22 grams) to each pole’s weight, making it a small and manageable addition.

A solid option overall.


5. Budget Option
Mountainsmith Andesite Trekking Poles

Ultralight Trekking Poles: Mountainsmith Andesite Trekking Poles

Key Specs


Weight Per Pole: 5.29 ounces (150 grams) | Length: 32-55″ (81.2-139.7 cm)
Material: Carbon fiber
Price: $

PROS


✅ Durable

✅ Extremely affordable

CONS


❌ Large pack size

When your adventures demand miles of reliable performance without breaking the bank, the Mountainsmith Andesites trekking poles deliver. Designed for hiking long distances over varied terrain, these poles combine user-friendly comfort with rugged durability.

The Andesites’ molded EVA foam grips and adjustable webbing wrist straps keep hands happy mile after mile. Dual flip locks allow easy height adjustments, while the removable baskets adapt the poles for trails or snow.

During testing, we found the lever locks kept the poles firmly extended – no slippage under loads. The telescoping sections and locking mechanisms delivered impressively sturdy performance across rocky trails and steep descents.

While stowage length runs slightly longer than some collapsible poles, the Andesites provide excellent stability and balance for the price.

How to Choose the Best Ultralight Trekking Poles

When selecting ultralight trekking poles, understand the key features and designs:

  • Designs include 3-section telescoping (versatile, budget-friendly), folding (lightest, most compact), fixed-length (minimal weight), and combination (hybrid features)
  • Materials like carbon fiber (exceptionally lightweight) or aluminum (heavier but very durable) affect performance
  • Locking mechanisms like lever locks (more popular) or twist locks impact stability
  • Basket size depends on terrain – small for trails, large for snow
  • Grips should fit your hand and hiking style – contoured, straight, cork, foam, rubber
  • Choose the right pole length based on your height and goals
  • Consider packability if space is limited

By evaluating these key factors – design, materials, locks, baskets, grips, sizing, and packability – you can select ideal trekking poles tailored to your needs and outdoor adventures.

If you want to delve deeper into the world of trekking poles, you can explore our detailed guide here.

FAQ

How important is weight when selecting trekking poles?

Weight is a critical factor when choosing trekking poles, especially for extended hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering where every ounce matters. Lighter poles reduce fatigue over long distances, benefitting your endurance. Carbon fiber offers the lightest weight option while still providing durability for treks and climbs. Consider your fitness level and the duration and terrain of your hikes – weekend fitness walkers may prefer heavier, more durable aluminum, while hardcore climbers and thru-hikers need the lightest gear possible. Analyze the total weight savings and balance this againstyour strength and planned routes. The lighter your poles, the less weight your legs, knees, and back have to endure over continuous days on the trail.

How long should trekking poles be for optimal use?

Choosing the proper trekking pole length is crucial for stability and support outdoors. As a general rule, poles should extend to around hip-to-chin height when you stand upright with the tips on the ground and arms relaxed at your sides. This allows a slight bend in the elbow for ergonomic gripping and shock absorption. Shorter poles feel more agile but don’t provide enough leverage, while longer poles are tiring to use. Adjustable-length poles allow you to fine-tune for uphills and downhills based on terrain. The right length reduces strain on joints and muscles while enhancing your natural walking rhythm, balance, and endurance on the trails. With proper support, you can go the distance comfortably and safely during any outdoor adventure.

What features should I look for in trekking poles?

When picking trekking poles, focus on adjustability, grip comfort, and shock absorption. Telescoping poles with adjustable length let you customize for uphill and downhill walks. Grips with ergonomic shapes and breathable materials like cork give a secure, comfy hold, even on long treks. Suspension systems and spring-loaded tips absorb impact, reducing strain on your joints. Quick adjustments come with flip-lock levers, and durability is enhanced by twist locks. Interchangeable tips and baskets make the poles suitable for different terrains. Tough materials like aluminum and carbon fiber resist bending and breaking. Considering these features ensures you choose versatile, supportive trekking poles designed for comfort, stability, and reliability on the trails.

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